Xiao Captures Chinese National Championship, Targets Top 48

Congratulations to Xiao Guodong who has today defeated countryman Chen Feilong 5-0 to capture the Chinese National Championship for the first time in his career. The win rounds off what has been an important year for Xiao in the best possible manner as he now turns his attentions to claiming a place inside the top 48…

Xiao began his campaign with 4-2 victories against Zhou Yuelong and Wang Linhan in the early rounds before seeing off Ma Bing without the loss of a frame in the quarters to move into the semi-finals. There he faced fellow professional Yu Delu in what on paper was his toughest match and not only made it past Yu to his first final, but once there recorded a whitewash against Chen Feilong (the conqueror of both Liang Wenbo and Ding Junhui in his previous matches), to win the title.

As regular readers will doubtless know, Xiao is a player whom I have been impressed with when I have seen him in the qualifiers during the past few seasons, indeed when he dropped off the tour in 2009/10 I argued that he would be a worthy candidate for the WPBSA wildcard nomination and to my surprise he actually got it!

Having shown flashes of his ability in the past, this year has seen Xiao for the first time begin to make strides up the ranking list, often reaching the latter stages of PTC events, defeating higher ranked players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump along the way.

I spoke to Xiao following his narrow 6-5 win against Adam Wicheard in the opening qualifying round of this month’s UK Championship and began by asking him how happy he was with the victory, given the points implications involved with a first-match win:

“There is a lot of pressure because today is very important. [In the] UK Championship I want to win but sometimes you play and you do not know what will happen, but I am practising very good. This season has started very good. In the big tournaments there is a lot of pressure, maybe you can’t play very, very well, but today I just think I must win, I cannot lose, just make that.” 

Now up into the top 64 for the first time, I asked Xiao of his targets for the remainder of the season:

 “Yeah I want up, maybe this season I want 48, maybe next season 32. You do not know what happen, sometimes you play hard player you can win, you can play easy player and maybe cannot win, just keep the feel.”

I also commented to Xiao that I felt that his break-building was the strongest aspect of his game and asked whether he would agree with this:

“I think so. Everything the best because maybe it’s four years, five years [and] every year you up, maybe break-building, maybe safety, everything every day, every match up. Break better before, safety also.”

In with a chance of moving into the top 48 at the next cut-off if he can better the result of Mike Dunn out in Munich next month, it looks to be a case of onwards and upwards for China’s new national champion…

Chinese Championship – Results

Wildcard Round:
Lu chenwei 4-1 Gu Yan
Liu Chuang 4-1 Chen Zhe
Zhang Yadong 4-1 Chen Xu
Lin Yongzhi 4-1 Wu Jianmin

First Round:
Jin Long 4-0 Qi Ya
Chen Ruifu 4-2 Guan Zhen
Ding Junhui 4-1 Zhu Yinghui
Lu chenwei 2-4 Li Yan

Liang Wenbo 4-3 Liu Chuang
Da Hailin 4-3 Cao Xinlong
Chen Feilong 4-0 Lin Shuai
Li Yuan 4-1 Cao Yupeng

Xiao Guodong 4-2 Zhou Yuelong
Wang Linhan 4-0 Tian Pengfei
Cai Jianzhong 3-4 Ma Bing
Zhang Ya dong 3-4 Rouzi Maimaiti

Li Hang 1-4 Lin Yongzhi
Shi Hanqing 3-4 Tang Jun
Mei Xi Wen 1-4 Zhang Anda
Cui Ming 3-4 Yu Delu

Second Round:
Jin Long 4-2 Chen Ruifu
Ding Junhui 4-0 Li Yan
Liang Wenbo 4-2 Da Hailin
Chen Feilong 4-3 Li Yuan

Xiao Guodong 4-2 Wang Linhan
Ma Bing 4-2 Rouzi Maimaiti
Lin Yongzhi 4-3 Tang Jun
Zhang Anda 3-4 Yu Delu

Jin Long 2-4 Ding Junhui
Liang Wenbo 2-4 Chen Feilong
Xiao Guodong 4-0 Ma Bing
Lin Yongzhi 2-4 Yu Delu

Ding Junhui 3-4 Chen Feilong
Xiao Guodong 4-2 Yu Delu

Chen Feilong 0-5 Xiao Guodong